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On sub-linear convergence for linearly degenerate waves in capturing schemes

Banks, Jeffrey W.; Aslam, T.; Rider, William J.

A common attribute of capturing schemes used to find approximate solutions to the Euler equations is a sub-linear rate of convergence with respect to mesh resolution. Purely nonlinear jumps, such as shock waves produce a first-order convergence rate, but linearly degenerate discontinuous waves, where present, produce sub-linear convergence rates which eventually dominate the global rate of convergence. The classical explanation for this phenomenon investigates the behavior of the exact solution to the numerical method in combination with the finite error terms, often referred to as the modified equation. For a first-order method, the modified equation produces the hyperbolic evolution equation with second-order diffusive terms. In the frame of reference of the traveling wave, the solution of a discontinuous wave consists of a diffusive layer that grows with a rate of t1/2, yielding a convergence rate of 1/2. Self-similar heuristics for higher-order discretizations produce a growth rate for the layer thickness of Δt1/(p+1) which yields an estimate for the convergence rate as p/(p + 1) where p is the order of the discretization. In this paper we show that this estimated convergence rate can be derived with greater rigor for both dissipative and dispersive forms of the discrete error. In particular, the form of the analytical solution for linear modified equations can be solved exactly. These estimates and forms for the error are confirmed in a variety of demonstrations ranging from simple linear waves to multidimensional solutions of the Euler equations. © 2008 Elsevier Inc.